If you’ve ever had one of those days where you just can’t fit into your pants, then the chances are the culprit is belly bloating. Symptoms of this common condition can range from mild discomfort through to pain that lasts for hours.1, 2.
Here are a few quick and easy tips to help you avoid that stretched out stomach feeling.
1. Avoid swallowing air
Sometimes, that bloated feeling can be caused by no more than air. A good way to combat this is to make sure you eat slowly and chew your food well.
It’s also a good idea to avoid carbonated drinks and chewing gum, as these foods can bring air into your stomach and gut.
2. Eat smaller meals
It may be that the discomfort in your stomach isn’t really due to bloating – you may just someone who is more sensitive to the sensation of feeling full3. To avoid that unpleasant feeling, try eating smaller meals with snacks in between if needed.
3. Look after your gut4
If you’re like most Australians, the chances are you don’t eat enough fibre. A lack of fibre can lead to constipation, which will make bloating even worse.
Try upping the amount of fibre in your diet by eating plenty of whole grains, fruits and vegetables – but go slowly as a rapid increase can cause more gas and bloating. And remember to drink plenty of water.
Meanwhile, limit your intake of sodium, most commonly found in salt, to prevent excess water retention which can also make you look and feel bloated.
It’s also been shown that unhealthy gut bacteria population can cause in bloating2. Look after your gut health with plenty of whole foods like fruits and vegetables, as well as fermented foods such as yogurt and kefir.
4. Get moving
Exercise can help physically move along the contents of your gut5.
It’s also great for relieving constipation and pushing out the excess air in your gut that’s making you bloated.
5. Medicate as needed
If gut pain has gotten so bad that you need immediate relief, then try visiting your pharmacy to get some antispasmodics such as Buscopan, which will to help relax your gut. Peppermint oil4, 6 has also been proven to relieve bloating and other symptoms related to IBS.
6. Get it checked out
If you feel like you have tried a few things and nothing is working, it might be time to seek help from a doctor or dietitian to identify the cause.
For example, some people experience bloating because they have difficulty digesting certain foods such as lactose in dairy1, 2. Artificial sweeteners are also a common culprit of gastrointestinal problems.
Your health professional will be able to help you manage your bloating for the long-term.
- Kamboj A, Oxentenko A. Workup and Management of Bloating. Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology. 2018;16(7):1030-1033.
- Seo A, Kim N, Oh D. Abdominal Bloating: Pathophysiology and Treatment. Journal of Neurogastroenterology and Motility. 2013;19(4):433-453.
- Zhou Q, Verne G. New insights into visceral hypersensitivity—clinical implications in IBS. Nature Reviews Gastroenterology & Hepatology. 2011;8(6):349-355.
- Grundmann O, Yoon S, Mason S, Smith K. Gastrointestinal symptom improvement from fiber, STW 5, peppermint oil, and probiotics use—Results from an online survey. Complementary Therapies in Medicine. 2018;41:225-230.
- Johannesson E, Simrén M, Strid H, Bajor A, Sadik R. Physical Activity Improves Symptoms in Irritable Bowel Syndrome: A Randomized Controlled Trial. The American Journal of Gastroenterology. 2011;106(5):915-922.
- Cash B, Epstein M, Shah S. A Novel Delivery System of Peppermint Oil Is an Effective Therapy for Irritable Bowel Syndrome Symptoms. Digestive Diseases and Sciences. 2015;61(2):560-571.